Nellie M., when brought to us by her grandmother, following the girl's experience with the police who had been told by her of immoralities practiced, was found to be rather a nice looking and gentle girl, pleasant and responsive with us.
On the physical side we found her to be poorly developed and nourished. Weight 93 lbs.; height 4 ft. 9 in. Vision about 20/40 in each eye, but wears glasses which correct this. Rather poor color. Complains somewhat of headaches. Marked tremor of outstretched hands. Moderate amount of choreic movements in arms and legs, exaggerated when attention distracted. Knee jerks exaggerated. Conjunctival and palatal reflexes almost absent. Small regular features. Well shaped head. Said to drink at least 4 cups of tea a day. Heart sounds negative.
Mentally, she seemed to be fairly normal in ability, but was undoubtedly in a peculiar psychical condition. She had reached 7th grade in spite of much moving about, even to different cities. We found evidence of lack of good apperceptive powers and the history of the case led us to see clearly that she had been just recently in a very unstable, if not quite confusional mental condition.
The ``Aussage'' or Testimony Test was not given in this case.
The history of heredity and development shows many points of importance. The mother died when Nellie was a very little girl. She was terribly abused by a husband who was excessively alcoholic and in general a tremendous brute. They lived in a roadhouse where drunken fights were not uncommon. Nellie has been brought up since her mother's death by other relatives. Outside of alcoholism on the father's side there is said to be no family peculiarities. The mother came from a very reputable family. Nellie suffered early from several severe illnesses. When only six weeks old she is said to have been in a comatose condition with scarlet fever and diphtheria. Later she had measles, whooping cough and other mild ailments, and at one time suffered extremely from constipation. Walked and talked early. No convulsions. Menstruated first several months ago. Sometimes complains of severe headaches. One observer reported that the girl had been subject to slight melancholia within the last year. Choreic movements have been present off and on for about a year, but have not been marked until a little while previous to the incident which brought her to us. The diagnosis had been made that it was a case of mild St. Vitus dance. During all the year Nellie had been regarded as in general unreliable, but nothing of importance had happened prior to the above episode.
Nellie's story as told to us seemed coherent enough. Apparently she had entire memory of her past actions and, in general, of what she had said. Her own statements convinced us as much as anything else of her unreliability at times. It seems she had run away and gone to a picture show and had fallen asleep there. When she got out it was very late, but it was election night and people were about on the street. She finally was accosted by a woman who took her home. After her story of being led off by a man the police were called into the case and she gave them her remarkable statement. Nellie told us of picking up with a man, too, who lured her to a theatre, but who left her there. There was no way of corroborating this. She fully acknowledged to us the lies which had created so much trouble. ``Well, I was telling the first lies and then when I was going to tell him that I knew that I was telling wrong he acted so cranky and said such things to me. He said he knew somebody had done bad things to me and so I thought I had to give the name of somebody and so I gave those names.
``The girls around in the schools I used to go to talked about these things. I never went with them. I was always by myself. None of the boys said bad things. The police were so cranky I did not know what else to say. They said someone must have done it to me when I was younger and I said it was my cousin because he always used to want to. He said he would give me a pair of skates if I would. He was 13. I never asked my grandmother or anyone about these things. No one ever explained it to me. Just the girls are the ones who told me about these things. They told me themselves how they had been out at night with the boys. I never did do it with anybody.''
Examination by a gynecologist about this time showed positively that there had been no immoral relations, and after our findings the case became a closed incident so far as prosecuting anybody was concerned. Nellie was taken in hand by the family physician and no further delinquencies or false accusations have been complained of during the succeeding two years.